On 9 December, Pope Francis received in a private audience Reverend Professor Dr Ioan Sauca, Acting General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, accompanied by Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. During the visit Reverend Sauca expressed his gratitude to the Holy Father for his 2018 ecumenical pilgrimage to the WCC and the Bossey Ecumenical Institute on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the WCC. The meeting offered the opportunity to discuss a range of issues on the relationship between the Catholic Church and the WCC, as well as preparations for the 11th Assembly of the WCC to take place in Karlsruhe, Germany, in September 2022 on the theme, “Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity”.
After the audience, Reverend Sauca visited the PCPCU where he met with Cardinal Koch, Bishop Farrell and other officials. During the meeting they discussed the challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic to ecumenical relations in general. Time was also dedicated to discussing the involvement of the Catholic Church in the preparations for the Assembly and the formation of the official Catholic delegation. Among other topics discussed there were the preparations of the materials for the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, ecumenical opportunities for the celebration of the 1700th anniversary of the first ecumenical council (Nicea 325) in 2025, and strengthening of the theme of Christian unity in the ecumenical movement in the prospective of common mission and witness to the world.
Photo with Pope Francis © Servizio Fotografico | Vatican Media